Visiting a college campus is a powerful experience for middle and high school students who may not see themselves as college material. In the words of one educator, "Many of our students have never stepped foot on a college campus. By simply walking around and touring a real campus, it is clear that their attitudes toward higher ed have improved."

GEAR UP schools unanimously agree that college visits help students develop a college-going identity, expand their horizons and career choices, and motivate them to do well in school and get ready for postsecondary education.

Therefore, we offer funds for college visits in order to share these benefits with more Oregon schools. Since 2016, over 1,800 students and 75 parents from 26 middle and high schools have visited 20 different colleges.

Living and eating on campus creates a belief that my kids belong there. They see it, they experience it, they feel it. [College] becomes that much more of a reality.

Educators share the experiences that impact students the most are:

  • Tours, especially visiting residence halls and recreation or athletic facilities
  • Talking with students, including asking questions during student panels
  • Hands-on activities, especially those that connected to a specific career
  • Learning about all of the opportunities, including majors, clubs and support services

Surveys before and after the visits highlight the positive outcomes, with more students reporting they:

  • think they will go to college (+5%)
  • can picture themselves as a college student (+6%)
  • believe they will be able to afford college (+11%)
  • know what it takes to get into college (+13%)

Use our College Visits Toolkit to plan successful and intentional visits to college campuses. Eligible Oregon schools may apply for college visit funds.